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Things to do in Sydney this weekend

Find all the weekend's best events in one place – it's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do in Sydney this weekend

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Stall holder at the Westies Markets displaying her fashion designs
Photograph: Supplied

This weekend is looking like a stunner. It’s filled to the brim with fabulous food festivals, huge live music experiences like RnB Fridays Live, an impressive line-up of musical theatre, fun community events like the New Beginnings Festival, and the brand-new family-friendly Bondi event, Festivilion

Need to get out of the sweaty city? Head to these stunning natural sites within driving distance from Sydney, or plan an escape for the whole fam with these kid-friendly day trips from Sydney.

RECOMMENDED: Top spots to go fishing in Sydney.

Find the best things to do this weekend

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RnB Fridays Live supplied Janet Jackson 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Music, Music festivals

RnB Fridays Live

icon-location-pin Giants Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
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There have been some big acts at R'n'B Fridays Live over the last few years but none of them compares to Janet freakin' Jackson. The bona fide music industry legend is the headliner for this year's iteration of the festival, bringing decades of hits to the stage.

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Dancers in colourful national dress
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

New Beginnings Festival

icon-location-pin Tumbalong Park, Sydney
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Sydney’s vibrant community will come together this Saturday for the fifth year of the New Beginnings Festival. The spring edition of this big day of culture will showcase the talents of Sydneysiders who came to Australia as refugees, those seeking asylum and others who have recently migrated to this fine city. 

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Steve Martin and Martin Short 2019 supplied photo
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy

Steve Martin and Martin Short

icon-location-pin International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour
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The pair's first live show was filmed for a Netflix special that was nominated for four Emmy Awards and won rave reviews. They're bringing the follow-up show to Australia, the provocatively-titled Now You See Them, Soon You Won't (Martin is 73 and Short is 69, after all).

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Theatre, Musicals

School of Rock the Musical

icon-location-pin Capitol Theatre, Haymarket
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The charming 2003 film School of Rock does seem now like a fairly obvious vehicle for a fully realised musical, but that’s hindsight talking. And while that kid-friendly plot might be a little thin, thankfully it’s still rocking on the stage.

Time Out says
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Cheetah and Verbal Jint host K-Pop Live
Photograph: Supplied
Music, Music festivals

K-Pop Live

icon-location-pin The Exchange Darling Square, Haymarket
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In recent years, K-pop has become almost as popular in the West as it is in Korea. Now, courtesy of SBS's PopAsia, a live K-pop spectacular is coming to Darling Square, so Aussie fans can get down to their favourite hits.

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People sitting in beer garden at The Oxford Tavern Petersham
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Rise ‘n’ Brine

icon-location-pin The Oxford Tavern, Petersham
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To honour everyone’s favourite sour green condiment, which doubles as an alleged hangover cure and fab bar snack, the Oxford Tavern is throwing a pickle-themed party. They'll be flogging briney treats like pickleback slushies (like the whiskey and pickle juice shot, but iced), specially brewed pickle beers, and a pickle-inspired barbecue menu.

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A dog sitting on a table with wine, candles and roses.
Photograph: Cole Bennetts
Sex and dating, Singles activities

Dating with Dogs

icon-location-pin The Golden Sheaf, Double Bay
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Dogs are one of the ultimate icebreakers, so it stands to reason that the addition of the few four-legged friends could radically improve this fun singles' night. Sydneysiders looking for human companionship with a side of pup cuddles are invited to meet likeminded folk to mingle over drinks, snacks and dog-related stories.

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People sitting outside at Inner West Beer Fest
Things to do, Food and drink

Inner West Beer Fest

icon-location-pin The Royal - Leichhardt, Leichhardt
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The grounds of the Royal Hotel Leichhardt will transform into an amber playground for beer enthusiasts, hosting ten breweries including local faves like Willie the Boatman and Batch Brewing Co. There’ll be a cocktail masterclass happening insdie, while hermit crab racing, giant lawn games and table tennis comps rage outside.

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Kids in red dancing for a crowd at Bondi Pavilion.
Photograph: Supplied / Andrew Worssam
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Festivilion

icon-location-pin Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach
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This huge celebration of live music, art and feasting presents a day and night program so everyone can get into the party, no matter their schedule this Saturday. See martial arts demos, listen to local choirs, join a seaside art class or get moving in a salsa workshop at the Bondi Pavilion amphitheatre.

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Cornelia Parker Museum of Contemporary Art 2019
Photograph: Hugo Glendinning
Art

Cornelia Parker

icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks
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Cornelia Parker is considered one of England's biggest and most influential art stars from the last few decades and was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010. See the exploded garden shed in her breakthrough work from 1991, 'Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View', at the MCA.

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Stall holder at the Westies Markets displaying her fashion designs
Photograph: Supplied
Shopping, Markets

The Westies Markets

icon-location-pin Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School, Western Sydney
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The revamped format of the Westies Markets for 2019 could be a sign that the West knows best when it comes to fresh produce and even fresher style. They’re aiming to create a lazy Sunday atmosphere, where you get to know the community rather than fight over the bargain bin.

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Members of band Youth Group standing in an overgrown garden with a Hills Hoist
Photograph: Supplied
Music, Rock and indie

Youth Group

icon-location-pin The Lansdowne Hotel, Chippendale
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The year was 2006, everyone was watching The OC on free to air TV and collectively swooned, then immediately downloaded the cover of ‘Forever Young’ by Sydney-based band Youth Group. But Youth Group was always more than a one-song pony and the band is going back on tour this spring.

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People shopping for plants
Photograph: Michelle Faure
Shopping, Sales

The Jungle Collective Indoor Plant Sale

icon-location-pin Precinct 75, St Peters
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The leaf-loving folk from the Jungle Collective have organised another weekend plant sale which is now sprouting out of Precinct 75 in St Peters. Horticulture fans can pick up hundreds of varietals like fiddle leafs, monstera, birds of paradise, peace lilies, rubber trees and more.

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Lea Salonga Cassel Group Supplied 2019
Photograph: Robert Catto
Music

Lea Salonga

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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You definitely know Lea Salonga's voice. She originated the leading role of Kim in the West End and Broadway productions of Miss Saigon, and is the singing voice of two Disney princesses: Mulan and Jasmine. Her powerhouse voice will soar over the Sydney Symphony Orchestra across three shows at the Opera House.

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People looking at the stalls of Plumer Road Village Fair in Rose Bay
Photograph: Supplied / Plumer Road Village Fair
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Plumer Road Village Fair

icon-location-pin Rose Bay Marina, Sydney
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Expect a very wholesome and relaxed day out at this cute community fair. There will be lots of delicious food options, local produce, interesting retail stalls and fun activities for the kids. Relax under umbrellas listening to funky tunes with a side of live saxophone. 

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Packer and Sons Belvoir 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

Packer & Sons

icon-location-pin Belvoir St Theatre, Surry Hills
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“The Packer dynasty has been at the centre of Sydney life and, in many ways, Australian life for a century,” Belvoir Theatre's artistic director Eamon Flack says. This new play by Tommy Murphy will trace the Packer family’s evolution, focusing on the moments when power has transitioned between different generations.

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People sitting at a table with colourful cocktails.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Brunch and Brush

icon-location-pin The Butler, Potts Point
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At the Butler's leafy rooftop terrace, you'll get to enjoy a Latin American-inspired mid-morning feast while you learn to paint and sip unlimited cocktails. The arty part of the affair is being run by illustrator Sally Spratt, who’ll help you create a piece inspired by the glorious view of the city.

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I'm With Her Darlinghurst Theatre 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

I'm With Her

icon-location-pin Eternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst
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Writer and documentary maker Victoria Midwinter Pitt has collected stories from Australian women, including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Labour MP Dr Anne Aly, footballer Erin Phillips and Indigenous leader Professor Marcia Langdon, about their experiences fighting the patriarchy and brought them to the stage.

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Japan Supernatural AGNSW 2019
Photograph: Courtesy Art Gallery of NSW
Art

Japan Supernatural

icon-location-pin Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
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This summer it's all about Japan at AGNSW with an epic exhibition of more than 200 artworks from artists past and present. Japan Supernatural features work from the country's most influential artist, Katsushika Hokusai, plus pieces from Takashi Murakami, who'll show a massive supernatural installation in the gallery.

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DONOTUSE - Best Gift Market at Alison Park, Randwick 2019
Shopping, Markets

The Best Gift Market

icon-location-pin Coogee Beach, Coogee
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Christmas by the beach is a bit of an Aussie ideal, so get this year’s salty festivities going by shopping for Xmas gifts on the sand. The Best Gift Market is bringing sustainable and ethical prizes to Coogee Beach. Find slow fashion and homewares, textiles, secondhand items and Christmas trees. 

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Josh Thomas Whoopsie Daisy 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Josh Thomas: Whoopsie Daisy

icon-location-pin The Concourse, Chatswood
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Long before Josh Thomas was Australia's TV comedy wunderkind with his internationally renowned Please Like Me, he was a stand-up wunderkind. He'll be at the Enmore Theatre touring Whoopsie Daisy on November 3 and at the Concourse in Chatswood on November 15.

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Enjoy paired beers at this sonically seasoned dining experience
Photograph: Supplied
Restaurants

Sensory Beer Dinner

icon-location-pin Sydney Brewery Surry Hills, Surry Hills
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A symphony of sensory information comes together each and every time we eat or drink. Sydney Brewery’s latest venture, a collaboration with music producer Hylander, is using a quirk of human physiology to hijack your senses for an event that brings together gourmet food and sonic science.

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Woman dressed in robes pouring a liquid into a cauldron.
Photograph: Supplied/The Wizards Cauldron
Things to do

The Wizard’s Cauldron

icon-location-pin The Wanderer, Surry Hills
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While you won’t find the most famed greasy-haired potions masters or boy wizard at this creative drinking experience, you will have a lot of fun if you’re keen on the occult. Channel the powers of your coven idol, from Sabrina to Hermione, and brew devilish concoctions in your cauldron.

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Good Dog Kings Cross Theatre 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

Good Dog

icon-location-pin Kings X Theatre, Potts Point
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In Arinzé Kene’s acclaimed coming of age tale, Justin Amankwah plays a teenager trying to stay on the straight and narrow in the lead up to the 2011 London Riots. Spanning multiple characters, communities and years, the production is directed by Rachel Chant.

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A person with bright makeup, orange lipstick and a floral dress holds up a salad full of sweet potato crisps.
Photograph: Supplied
Gay and lesbian

Drag me to Lunch

icon-location-pin The Imperial Hotel, Erskineville
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The Imperial is bringing a touch of old-fashioned class to the weekends with a '50s flavoured drag'n'dine lunch. Every Saturday and Sunday in November you can sit down to a plant-based banquet and retro-inspired drag entertainment, topped off with two hours of bottomless bubbles.

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Choir of Man on stage production shot
Theatre

The Choir of Man

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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The Choir of Man, which falls somewhere between pub gig, cabaret, choral performance and scrappy musical, is an ode to pub culture and the communities that exist within them. There’s not much going on in terms of narrative, but there are nine men from England and Ireland onstage leading the audience through a night at their local.

Time Out says
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Movie still of a woman holding a gun from Russian movie Hero.
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Film festivals

Russian Resurrection Film Festival

icon-location-pin Event Cinemas - George Street, Sydney
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The Russian Resurrection Film Festival is one of the largest, oldest and most respected Russian film festivals outside of Russia. For its 16th anniversary, the Sydney season of its national tour will screen new releases and favourites from both stalwarts of Russian cinema and rising stars.

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Girl swinging on rope across assault course
Photograph: Tough Mudder
Things to do, Sports

Tough Mudder Mud Run Sydney

icon-location-pin Glenworth Valley ,
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Be put through your paces in a military-style training regime of obstacle courses and endurance tests. Tough it out on the classic 16km course of mud-caked running and 25 obstacles that take you through muddy flats, dense bushland, ice and electricity. Or, try the new 5km course, with less running, more obstacles and still plenty of mud.

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Still from movie Shutter Island (2010)
Photograph: Paramount Pictures
Things to do, Walks and tours

The Shutter Island Experience

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Martin Scorsese’s 2010 psychological thriller Shutter Island has nightmare-inducing qualities that will make it an adaptable theme for this immersive cinema experience. Beyond Cinema will take this unsettling story to Q Station, hosting a kind of haunted house experience which follows Shutter Island's plot before a screening of the film.

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Sylvia The Australian Ballet 2019 supplied
Photograph: Justin Ridler
Dance, Ballet

Sylvia

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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The ballet Sylvia falls very firmly into the 'neglected classic' category, and has been rarely performed since it premiered more than 150 years ago. It draws its narrative from Greek mythology, following Sylvia, a chaste, ferocious huntress who swears off love but eventually falls for a mortal man.

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HMS Pinafore Hayes Theatre 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Musicals

HMS Pinafore

icon-location-pin Hayes Theatre Co, Elizabeth Bay
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This is the Hayes Theatre’s first foray into Gilbert and Sullivan, but given the cast attached and director you shouldn’t expect this to be a stuffy Victorian operetta. They’re promising a gender-bending, hyper-theatrical version that will speak to the satire of Victorian society in this seafaring tale.

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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Fantasy

Dark Arts film series

icon-location-pin Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
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This newest season of free movies from the archives of world cinema delivers supernatural stories from seven different nations. The Art Gallery of NSW is presenting these films as an adjunct to its blockbusting Japan Supernatural exhibition, and it ranges from a legendary Italian horror film to two neglected Australian classics of the uncanny.

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Quilty AGNSW 2019 supplied
Image courtesy the artist and Art Gallery of NSW
Art, Paintings

Quilty

icon-location-pin Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
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Ben Quilty's work is known across the country for its vivid, luscious and tormented quality, all realised in oils. This exhibition is Quilty's first major survey in more than a decade and covers 15 years of his work, ranging from his portraits through to more abstract pieces and reflections on the Australian landscape.

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The Underpants Sugary Rum Productions 2019 supplied
Photograph: David Hooley
Theatre

The Underpants

icon-location-pin Seymour Centre, Darlington
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You’re a newlywed in 1900s Germany, and you’ve gone to a parade to see the king. Then suddenly, like an act of God, your tightly drawstringed, old-timey underpants fall down. You scoop them up quick as a flash and carry on with your day. But in Steve Martin’s remix of 1910 play Die Hose, Louise and her knickers are the talk of the town. 

Time Out says
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US jazz saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin holding a saxophone, standing in front of a gratified wall.
Photograph: Elizabeth Leitzell
Music, Jazz

Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival

icon-location-pin Around Sydney, Sydney
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If you’re partial to an evening of smooth jazz or wild scat cat abandon, then this huge jazz festival will be right up your alley. It exclusively stars jazz musicians who identify as female and the last performances are happening in bars and clubs across Sydney this weekend. 

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A pan of thick juicy sausages on a grey bench with a striped tea towel wrapped around the handle.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Sausage Making Masterclass

icon-location-pin Acre Eatery, Camperdown
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Who doesn’t love a good sausage? Camperdown’s home of farm-to-table dining, Acre Eatery, invites you to take your appreciation for the humble snag to the next level with a 90-minute hands-on artisan sausage-making masterclass.

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Blak Box Urban Theatre Projects 2018 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Art, Installation

Blak Box

icon-location-pin Barangaroo Reserve, Barangaroo
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Blak Box is a pavilion for art and sound telling the stories of the Indigenous people who've lived in the area for tens of thousands of years. Audiences can step inside and listen to a 45-minute audio track featuring spoken word, natural sounds and music, played in state-of-the-art surround sound. 

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Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee
Photograph: Hugh Stewart
Things to do, Exhibitions

Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Step Into Paradise

icon-location-pin Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo
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In 1973, the Sydney Opera House opened and our city was making headlines around the world. But in the Strand arcade, another cultural revolution was happening: Jenny Kee opened her Flamingo Park Frock Salon. Her creative partnership with Linda Jackson is being celebrated in this major survey.

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Flowers at Rozelle Markets
Shopping, Markets

Rozelle Collectors Market

icon-location-pin Rozelle Public School, Rozelle
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A new wardrobe doesn’t have to mean popping hundreds of dollars worth of tags, especially when you’re shopping at this long-standing secondhand market in Rozelle. It runs across the weekend, although Saturday is the best day if it’s pre-loved clothing you’re after.

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<p><em>The Personal History of David Copperfield</em></p>
Film, Film festivals

British Film Festival

icon-location-pin Around Sydney, Sydney
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If there’s a corner of a foreign field that is forever England, then it’s Palace Cinemas during the annual British Film Festival. The line-up is usually packed with big star names, well known directors and popular genres ranging from protest to literary adaptation – and 2019 is no exception.

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Cosi 2019 Sydney Theatre Company supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

Così

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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This new production of one of Australia’s most popular plays is directed by Sarah Goodes. Penned by Louis Nowra, it’s about a young director who stages an opera inside a mental health facility in the 1970s, using the patients as his cast.

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Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, False Gods, 2019 Sullivan+Strumpf supplied
Photograph courtesy Sullivan+Strump
Art

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran: False Gods

icon-location-pin Sullivan and Strumpf, Zetland
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Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran has become pretty well known in recent years around Sydney thanks to his distinctive sculptures and paintings. This new series represents a bit of a change in direction for the artist, bringing all sorts of materials into the fold alongside his ceramics to create his largest works yet.

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First Love is the Revolution Griffin Theatre 2019 supplied
Photograph: Brett Boardman
Theatre

First Love is the Revolution

icon-location-pin SBW Stables Theatre - Griffin Theatre Company, Darlinghurst
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Griffin Theatre Company's final play for the year is a strange Romeo and Juliet-esque love story between a 14-year-old boy and a fox, and is described by Griffin as: “Fantastic Mr Fox if Margaret Atwood wrote the Netflix adaptation”.

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Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in Speed
Photograph: Speed
Film, Drama

Keanu Reeves-a-thon

icon-location-pin Ritz Cinema Randwick, Randwick
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Any Sydneysiders who are crazy for Keanu can now immerse themselves in an epic celebration of this modern-day matinee idol. Reeves’ most beloved blockbusters will be getting an airing, including Bill and Ted’s Excellent AdventureSpeed, The Matrix and many more.

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Two womean sitting with a dog Sydney Vegan Market
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Markets

Sydney Vegan Market

icon-location-pin EQ Village Markets, Moore Park
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On the third Sunday of every month, Sydney Vegan Market brings together more than 100 stalls selling 100 per cent plant-based food and drink, homewares, fashion, art and cosmetics. The set up in Moore Park offers a full day of eating, shopping, activism and education.

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Guan Wei  MCA
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Art

Guan Wei

icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks
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Beijing-born Guan Wei is one of the most provocative and distinctive artists making work in Australia today, about both China and his adopted homeland, and the connection between the two nations. The Museum of Contemporary Art is putting some of his most memorable pieces on display in a new exhibition.

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Billy Elliot the Musical 2019 supplied image Sydney Lyric
Photograph: Alastair Muir
Theatre, Musicals

Billy Elliot the Musical

icon-location-pin Sydney Lyric, Darling Harbour
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It's time to don your ballet shoes and practice your plié – Billy Elliot the Musical is on its way back to Australian shores for a tenth anniversary tour. The British musical blockbuster is opening at the Sydney Lyric with four freakishly talented youngsters sharing the title role.

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Primavera MCA 2019 supplied
Zoe M. Robertson, 'Various Protest Banners', 2018
Art, Galleries

Primavera

icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks
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Each year, the MCA invites an artist or curator to take the reins of Primavera, an exhibition for emerging artists under 35. This year, the exhibition is curated by Archibald Prize-winning painter Mitch Cairns, who has brought together seven artists who all incorporate language forms and poetic expression in their practice. 

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Fully Committed Ensemble Theatre 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

Fully Committed

icon-location-pin Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli
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Among 40 other characters, including a bully of a chef, a snooty maître d', a Sydney socialite and an assistant to an international A-lister, Sam, the harried restaurant worker who, armed with little more than her wits and charisma, must manage the daily battle for Sydney’s top tables.

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Haus of Dizzy Stall at Glebe Markets
Shopping, Markets

Glebe Markets

icon-location-pin Glebe Public School, Glebe
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You’ll find massive variety among the 200 stalls that take over Glebe Public School each Saturday morning. There are rows upon rows of eccentric and colourful vintage clothes, alongside hand-crafted jewellery, accessories and new clothing designed by locals.

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‘Then’ at White Rabbit, exhibition view, supplied
Art

Then

icon-location-pin White Rabbit, Chippendale
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Judith Neilson's four-storey temple of contemporary Chinese art in Chippendale celebrates some of its finest moments at the end of its first decade. The exhibition will bring together works from White Rabbit's earliest exhibitions alongside works from the collection that haven't been exhibited before.

More amazing things to do in Sydney

Person serving food at Kitchen by Mike
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Restaurants, Cafés

The best new restaurants in Sydney right now

If you love food and live in Sydney, your 'must-try' list of new restaurants, cafés and bars probably takes up your phone's entire storage capacity by now. Luckily, we've put together a curated list of the newest, hottest and coolest restaurants our critics are raving about. 

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A smoking cocktail
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Bars, Cocktail bars

The 50 best bars in Sydney right now

Here is Sydney viewed through the bottom of a glass: from its world-beating cocktail lounges to its down-and-divey saloons. These bars represent the pinnacle of Melbourne drinking.

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SOCIAL MEDIA - 1:1 Summer in Sydney
Photograph: Filippo Rivetti/Destination NSW
Travel, Short getaways

The best day trips from Sydney

Escape the city for a day by pointing your compass in the direction of one of these nearby towns, regional escapes or beautiful bush walks.

People drinking coffee at Carriageworks Farmers Markets
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Shopping, Markets

The best markets in Sydney

Borrow your nanna's tartan shopping trolley and venture out to one of Sydney's best markets for farm-fresh produce, designer homewares, vintage fashions and tasty street food.

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Culture Scouts tour Sydney
Photograph: Emma Joyce
Things to do, Walks and tours

The best tours in Sydney

We’ve tried and tested Sydney’s best tours – from seaside foraging trails to urban graffiti walks – to bring you a list of tour operators who’ll help you discover the hidden gems of this city, whether you’re local or here to soak up the view.

Kids playing with the chickens at Rouse Hill House & Farm
Photograph: James Horan
Kids, Active events

The best activities for kids in Sydney

Looking for ways to entertain the little ones? Here’s a list of what’s on in Sydney for kids and families, from children’s theatre shows to sports camps and events in the school holidays. 

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